Since the inaugural League of Legends World Championship in 2021, LoL has remained a key crucial part of the global esports scene. However, Worlds isn’t the only tournament League fans can enjoy. Today, there are dozens of smaller leagues active across the globe, with just as many annual tournaments. Although LoL tournaments have been around since 2011, they show no sign of slowing down. In 2022, more than $2.2 million in prize money was shared between competitors at the World Championships. Looking to mix up your tournament viewing? We’ve picked out five of the best events to tune into this year.
5. League of Legends Championship Series (LCS)
The LCS brings together the best LoL teams from North America. It’s one of the oldest regional leagues in the world, with Riot Games establishing it back in 2012. In fact, the LCS helped set the framework for professional esports in general, with tournament organizers committing to a regular schedule and providing players with steady incomes. The LCS calendar is made up of a spring and summer season, with spring fixtures usually kicking off in the last week of January. There’s an additional championship tournament that gets underway once the summer season has wrapped.
4. League of Legends European Championship (LEC)
After Riot’s success with the LCS in North America, it quickly turned its attention to the European market. In 2013, the first-ever LEC got underway. Recently, the LEC has changed its structure slightly, bringing in an additional split that covers spring, winter, and summer playing seasons. It’s arguably more fierce than other LoL tournaments, with the single round-robin format being particularly cut-throat.
3. League of Legends Pro League (LPL)
The LPL was also formed in 2013, bringing pro-level League of Legends to China for the first time. The first year of play proved incredibly popular domestically, with Riot Games bringing in English language commentators in 2014 to introduce global audiences to teams like Edward Gaming and OMG. Both teams are still active to this day, although relative newcomers, Royal Never Give Up (RNG) have emerged as the leading lights of Chinese esports in recent years.
2. Mid-Season Invitational (MSI)
While domestic leagues continue to prove popular, it’s the Mid-Season Invitational that brings some of the most sought-after action. After Worlds, it’s the most important tournament fixture in the annual LoL calendar. Beyond the occasional friendly match, it’s the first time in the year that teams get to do battle with teams from other regions. The MSI is split into stages; the play-in stage and the bracket stage. Until recently, only 11 international teams were invited to compete. This all changed in 2023 when the number of participants was increased to 13. It’s also insanely popular. In 2023, viewing figures for the bracket stage surpassed previous records.
1. League of Legends Worlds
We’ve talked a little about Worlds already, but it wouldn’t be right to cap off this list without giving this beloved championship its due. It’s the grand climax of the League of Legends playing season, bringing together the crème de la crème of pro-level LoL. It’s massively popular with audiences, with the 2022 grand finals bringing in peak viewing figures of 5.15 million. Although T1 from South Korea has secured the trophy three times, it’s generally considered anyone’s prize to play for. No other team has secured more than a single victory in the history of the tournament.
Ready to plan your League of Legends viewing? Head to Tournament schedule for the latest start dates and event fixtures.